YNDC kicks off information sessions at Rocky Ridge Neighborhood

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. kicked off a series of meetings Feb. 26, looking to gain public insight as to what concerns residents the most about their neighborhood. Rick Pollo has more.

Residents in the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood gathered Feb. 26 at Our Lady of the Afflicted Shrine to discuss their concerns with representatives from the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. This is the first of 11 meetings planned. YNDC will use the information gathered to create a development strategy for the city. Chris Davidson/TheNewsOutlet.org

Residents in the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood gathered Feb. 26 at Our Lady of the Afflicted Shrine to discuss their concerns with representatives from the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. This is the first of 11 meetings planned. YNDC will use the information gathered to create a development strategy for the city. Chris Davidson/TheNewsOutlet.org

“This is one of the most stable neighborhoods – the West Side is – and we need to talk about how we’ll continue to stabilize it.”

That’s 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray. He spoke to West Siders at Our Lady of the Afflicted Shrine on Belle Vista Ave. Nearly 100 residents of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood came out to voice their concerns about their neighborhood – everything from blight removal, crime, rental and vacant properties.

However, population decline seemed to be the hottest topic. Although YNDC reports clearly indicate that this particular neighborhood is among the most stable in the entire city, the rapidly shrinking population proved to be a big concern for attendee, Edward DeRoce.

DeROCE: Youngstown has gone from 95,000 people in 1990 to 66,000 people currently. The young people are leaving the city in droves.

DeRoce has lived in the city for more than 70 years.

DeROCE: We’ve got too many politicians and not enough leaders. Our young people are leaving the city by the busload, because we have poor leadership.

Anna Marie Nameth, a resident of the neighborhood and member of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association, says she hopes to see a plan for future residents.

NAMETH: Want to be sure that neighborhoods are better preserved so that we can keep Youngstown a nice place to live, raise children.

YNDC will use the data gathered in these meetings over the next month and form a strategy based on residents’ concerns.

The next public meeting is for the Pleasant Grove Neighborhood. It will be held March 4 at the Newport Library.

For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Rick Pollo.

TheNewsOutlet.org is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron, Cuyahoga Community College and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron).

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